Umpire Joe West is going back to Boston. Make sure to synchronize your watches.
For the first time since calling the Red Sox and Yankees pace of play "pathetic" and "embarrassing," West will return to Boston to work the Red Sox-Royals series beginning Thursday at 7 p.m.
With an opportunity to revisit his words, West didn't take anything back.
ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes interviewed West to see if he had anything new to say about his old comments:
“I don’t second-guess what I said,’’ West said by telephone from Cleveland, where he worked Wednesday afternoon’s White Sox-Indians game (and ejected Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle). “And I don’t believe I’m wrong. A lot of people don’t believe I’m wrong.
“I kind of expected the firestorm I created. But the interview was taken out of context. The first thing I said was that these were two of our best teams, but the pace that they play the game was pathetic and embarrassing. But everybody, especially the New York media, blew it out of proportion and said I was calling the teams pathetic.
“Some people said I had no right to single them out. I didn’t single them out. I said they were both bad.’’
So what should West be expecting this weekend? First of all, the Royals aren't one of the best teams in baseball. I'm not exactly sure what that has to do with the speed of a game, but West likes to point that out with the Yankees and Red Sox. This means it could be quicker -- or slower. No one really knows. (Maybe the Royals can be slower because they aren't such an attraction on the national stage? OK, I still really don't know.)
As far as the starters go, Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start for the Red Sox Thursday night. He's not the quickest starter, so West may have an issue. But with Tim Wakefield going in game two and Clay Buchholz following in game three on Saturday, West may not be a cranky boy when he heads to bed on those nights. Wakefield and Buchholz are pretty quick workers.
My watch is synchronized. Joe West's certainly is, too.